CMU AD Michael Alford departs for job at Florida State

MT. PLEASANT, Mich. (WOOD) — Central Michigan University athletic director Michael Alford is leaving the Chippewas to become the CEO of Seminol Boosters, CMU announced Wednesday.

Seminole Boosters describes itself as “the fundraising arm of Florida State University Athletics.”

Alford, 51, was hired at CMU July of 2017. He then replaced former AD Dave Heeke, who is now at the University of Arizona.

Alford released a statement regarding his departure at CMU on Twitter.

“I am grateful to President Thrasher, Chairman Bob Davies and the Board of Directors of Seminole Boosters, Inc., for the faith and trust they’ve placed in me to lead the premiere fundraising organization in college sports. I will miss Central Michigan’s great leadership and the many relationships that my family and I have built over the last three years. My wife, Laura, and I look forward to coming to Tallahassee and to immersing ourselves in the longstanding culture of excellence that permeates FSU and its tradition of winning.”

Alford had many key moments in his few-year span of being in Mount Pleasant — none bigger than his hiring of head football coach Jim McElwain in Dec. 2019. In just one season, the former Florida head coach turned the Chippewas around drastically from 1-11 in 2018 to 8-6 and 6-2 in Mid-American Conference play in 2019, which put the Chippewas in the MAC title game and the New Mexico Bowl.

In 2019-20 alone, four of his coaches — McElwain, women’s basketball Heather Oesterle, wrestling Tom Borelli and volleyball Mike Gawlik — won MAC Coach of the Year honors.

Alford was also a major part in the Chippewas Champions Center being built, which was scheduled to be finished by the start of the 2020 football season. The scoreboard was finished by last season, which was 3,200 square feet and is the largest video board in the MAC.

In May, CMU’s athletic department cut its men’s indoor and outdoor track and field programs for financial reasons due to the coronavirus pandemic. The cut left the university one men’s sport short of the required number to remain in the Football Bowl Subdivision. But in June, the NCAA approved a waiver allowing CMU to continue in the FBS for the 2020-21 school year.

Alford had stops with the University of Oklahoma, Dallas Cowboys, University of Southern California, University of Alabama, the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Bengals before coming to Mount Pleasant.

Alford will begin his tenure with Florida State on Sept. 1.